We sat against the wall, sharing our little pipe and commenting on the scene around us.
“It’s just like we’re in your car,” I said and we laughed.
People moved among the rooms; we passed cigarettes to those in the doorway, watched the beer supply dwindle, and saw girls sit on laps like musical chairs. She’d give me that glance every now and then, the type of look that didn’t need words or a response. We were special and we both knew it. We found something in each other that transcended circumstance. With her I was a politician, a master of rhetoric and romance fueled by the faith in her eyes alone. Our chemistry was channeled from song lyrics and dead poets and bohemian aesthetic – but after awhile an uneasy feeling did grow inside me. I wanted her alone and I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get it. We’d always be in some corner, in a car, saying goodbye or waiting to. This is when I was the strongest, when there were no expectations. I wouldn’t have to perform in any way. We could keep our fantasy, an unrealized consummation, left in the ideal, in an impossible future where it belonged. I would never be a disappointment, but was it worth it?
I took her picture on my phone. It was the glance: what am I going to do with you? I’d remember it forever but had to make sure. Just like our hero, Nadja, said, “Be careful, everything fades, everything vanishes, something must remain of us.” Years later I saw Nadja’s name pressed into the cement on a sidewalk in Los Angeles. She was right; I looked at the pictures and remembered the party and the girl and the living forever in a hypothetical.
Lives collide and separate the way people crash parties. Some leave noticeably, others slip out the back. I’m still not sure why I left. You’re always on top when you walk away, but you can’t walk away from memory. And time only makes it sharper, focusing in on the subtlety of missed connections—making me Nadja now, saying you’ll write about me, I’m sure you will. Something must remain of us.
– North Hollywood, CA